Yankees-Red Sox on the back burner

It is partly because this country has gone mad for the World Cup. It is also due to the NBA draft combined with the Where will LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony go? daily headlines.

But mostly, it is due to the 2014 renditions of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox not being top-shelf variety. That is why "The Greatest Rivalry in Sports" feels a bit like an afterthought.

As in, Oh, the Yankees play the Red Sox this weekend?

We are not going to write 1,000 words on the diminishing rivalry. First off, these things are cyclical and can change in a hurry. Who saw the Red Sox going from worst to first in 2013?

But it must be noted that the matchup this weekend lacks a bit of pizzazz.

The streaky defending World Series champion Red Sox are 36-43. They have been inconsistent all year and enter 5-5 in their past 10. You know the story of the 40-37 Yankees -- they have been crushed by injuries to their starting staff, but the offense has been the real problem.

It is Yankees-Red Sox, so something crazy might happen, but it is not one of those weekends where it feels the whole city will be revved up for it.

Vidal start: There was a time not too long ago when it seemed Joe Girardi would line up his pitching staff specifically around the Red Sox. Girardi wouldn't admit it, but when he got a chance to reshuffle the deck with an off day or a rainout, magically, it would always work out that then-ace CC Sabathia would find himself lined up to pitch against the Red Sox.

Vidal Nuno

Vidal Nuno

#57 SP
New York Yankees

2014 STATS

  • GM15
  • W1

  • L4

  • BB22

  • K50

  • ERA5.88

On Friday, Vidal Nuno (1-4, 5.88 ERA) starts, because Girardi would rather give the rest of his staff a breather than go full force in June against the Red Sox. With Thursday's off day, he could have skipped Nuno, but chose not to. So it is Nuno vs. Brandon Workman (1-0. 2.88).

On Saturday, it is a matchup worthy of the marquee, Masahiro Tanaka (11-2, 2.11) vs. Jon Lester (8-7, 3.14). On Sunday night, it will be Chase Whitley (3-1, 4.07) against John Lackey (8-5, 3.45).

Scheduling notes: The Yankees' next two series are at home (Red Sox and Rays) and are the final ones of the first half for the club. They will head into the break going to Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore. They don't play the Red Sox again until the beginning of August in Boston.

They face the Red Sox during the first three days of September in the Bronx and in the final three games of the season in Boston. This, of course, means if the Yankees don't qualify for the playoffs, Derek Jeter's career would end at Fenway.

Cano a 'fool': This isn't exactly timely, but former Yankees catcher Rick Cerone went on Sirius/XM's Fantasy Channel and crushed Robinson Cano. Cerone was innocently asked by host Scott Engel why Cano is not hitting for power.

“Big ballpark," Cerone said of Cano, who has four home runs, but does have a .324 batting average. "Big mistake. No backup. No protection in the lineup. I mean, what a fool. Robinson Cano, I liked him as a Yankee. What a fool. Got bad advice. Yeah, he took more money but you know how much more money and exposure he could’ve had playing in New York, come to the lights. He’s going to go up to Seattle, we might see him once or twice in an All-Star Game. He’s only got four home runs. Four home runs for how many million, 200-and-something million dollars?”

Cerone eventually called Cano a "good kid," but added he made a mistake. Seattle (42-37) has two more wins than the Yankees. Cano has $240 million coming to him, which is $65 million more than the Yankees offered.

The Mariners are tied with Orioles for the second wild card in the American League. The Yankees trail each team by a game.